August is typically considered the quietest month on the fashion calendar – New Yorkers labour away in design studios, preparing to kick off the next round of shows in early September, while the French and Italians head to the seaside for a lengthy break before their collections are presented a few weeks later. But now all eyes turn to Scandinavia in this summer month as the Copenhagen and Stockholm fashion weeks steal the attention of the fashion world. The fashion press and buyers flock to Copenhagen Fashion Week for its series of world-class fashion shows and trade fairs, ready to unearth the latest offerings from Scandinavia’s sartorial wunderkinds.
Bruuns Bazaar, one of the standout brands of this season, has garnered a reputation for minimalist, streamlined, androgynous tailoring. Modern daywear is the crux of the brand – this season in a toning palette of stone, buttermilk, navy, concrete and black – and spring/summer 2013 delivered elongated tunic T-shirts worn over cropped, brushed cotton Capri pants and utility shirts paired with neat khaki shorts made for an short suit update. There isn’t a sophisticate from Nyhavn to Østergade who wouldn’t covet these looks.
Day Birger et Mikkelsen is one of Denmark’s biggest fashion exports, boasting over 1,000 points of sale in over 25 countries. Creative director Peter Ingwersen showed a collection of luxe jersey separates underpinned with a nod to leather and denim: sash-waist crepe dresses; appliquéd khaki jackets and slouchy satin harem pants made a successful move away from the brand’s signature deconstructed tailoring.
Peter Jensen has shown on the catwalks of New York and London as well as those of Copenhagen and has grown a global fan base dedicated to his joyous, colourful, retro-influenced clothes. Jensen promoted quirky layering for both boys and girls this season, with male and female models dressed in button-up shirts worn under neat V-neck jumpers and form-fitting blazers. Colours were preppy and punchy – candyfloss, violet, grey and pea green. While fun is not always an obvious factor in some fashion circles, here it was merrily applied and the show was all the better for it.
Playing dress up
A similar sense of playfulness pervaded at Henrik Vibskov, with clown-themed references to summer (elongated trilby hats, oversized 3D polka dot sweatshirts and taped-up brogues) along with an appreciation of proportion and cut that prove Vibskov is fundamentally no joker. Knitwear, in a subtle ikat weave or bolder, sporty, ‘go faster’ colours, was a standout feature and utterly covetable.
Elin Nyström, who trained at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, began her career as a gymnast, so she appreciates the need for a cut that allows the wearer full movement. Her collections under her own label Stylein are underpinned by clever, fluid drapery that affords exactly that, without ever swamping the wearer. Details such as ballerina wrap tops were influenced by her active background, while floor-sweeping sundresses were pure daytime show stoppers.
Gaia Brandt Rasmussen graduated in fashion design with knitwear from Central Saint Martins College in London and set up her eponymous label Gaia in 2009. Her striped and chevroned knitted vest dresses incorporated 70s avocado and mustard hues; trimmed in white and black, they looked arrestingly modern and graphic. Her knitwear expertise was never laboured – an embroidered biker jacket, lace and screen printing all made an appearance in a well-rounded, lively collection. Attending a gallery opening in these garments would be sartorial serendipity.
Unsurprisingly, as Denmark is a country so in tune with the natural world, Copenhagen designers looked to the great outdoors, taking inspiration from raw materials and spinning them into beautiful creations. Elsa Adams showed unhemmed natural hessian shorts and boiled wool collarless jackets, while Ivan Grundahl’s linen T-shirt dresses and Wackerhaus’s heavy open-weave crochet in undyed yarns were truly covetable.
Although spring is normally the season for a lighter touch, this season the presence of Lisbeth Salander, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, was still being felt. Unusually for the summer months, black leather was a dominant trend at Copenhagen Fashion Week. Bruuns Bazaar adopted it for modernist boxy T-shirt dresses, as well as the key buy of the season – leather tracksuit bottoms. David Andersen reworked the biker jacket into black leather zip-fronted shirts and deconstructed blazers; all proof, if proof were needed, that Danish design retains its signature originality and appeal.